Balticon Code of Conduct
Balticon is an event sponsored by The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS). BSFS is dedicated to providing a comfortable and harassment-free environment for everyone at Balticon. By attending a BSFS event, all individuals agree to abide by BSFS anti-harassment rules, venue policies, and all municipal, state, and federal laws.
Baltimore Science Fiction Society Code of Conduct
Approved by BSFS Board of Directors 2/11/2023
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) exists to promote the creation and appreciation of science fiction, fantasy, and related sub-genres, primarily through literary art forms, but also embracing the many related cultural arts in graphical, musical, theatrical, and media forms inspired by speculative fiction.
BSFS welcomes all people to be part of the activities we sponsor and to consider becoming one of our members.
We affirmatively welcome individuals who identify with groups based on characteristics such as, but not limited to (in alphabetical order) age, ancestry, citizenship, color, disability status, familial status (including marital status), gender identity and/or expression, immigration status, level of educational attainment, national origin, physical appearance, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and/or veteran status.
Attendees at our meetings/events and participants in our social media and/or digital platforms are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous and respectful of the other people present. By attending a BSFS event, all individuals are required to abide by BSFS policies, including this Code of Conduct, venue policies, and all municipal, state, and federal laws.
- Attendees at BSFS events must respect common societal expectations for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property.
- We do for others what we would like done for us.
- All clothing, including costumes, should provide enough coverage to be worn in public and should be in good taste and appropriate for family-friendly events.
- Respecting the privacy of others by not sharing information about an individual in person or online (i.e., doxing) without the subject’s consent.
- Consent is not assumed. A person should always obtain appropriate permission before acting.
- Respectful disagreements, reasonable and respectful exchanges of ideas, and/or critiques of creative works, made in good faith, are not violations of this policy.
- Actions that are disruptive of the comfortable and harassment-free environment of BSFS.
- Slurs and derogatory comments about a person, group, or category of people.
- Physical harm and/or endangerment and/or threats of physical harm and/or endangerment of any person and/or their personal effects.
- Stalking, intimidation, and/or coercion of a person or persons.
- Intentional touching of a person and/or their personal effects without an express invitation or consent after a request, including, but not limited to, hair, clothing, assistive devices, bags, and service animals.
- Further, we ask that people not presume to speak for groups of which they are not members.
Allegations of violations of this Code of Conduct are taken seriously by the BSFS Board of Directors. Anyone who has experienced or witnessed behavior that appears to be a violation of the rules stated herein should report it as soon as possible.
The first report should be made to the person running the event or acting as the moderator. If that is not possible, contact a BSFS Board member.
At Balticon, the first report should be made to the panel moderator. When that is not possible, the complaint should be brought to one of the following locations: Balticon Operations, Balticon Information Desk, Balticon Programming, Balticon Committee Member or Balticon Department Head, or a BSFS Board Member, as identified by the ribbons attached to their badges.
Initial reports may be made in person, verbally or in writing. Reports may be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com or by postal mail addressed to:
Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc.
PO Box 686
Baltimore, MD, 21203-0686
Note: Please note that mail is not retrieved daily, and delays may occur in delivery. For the fastest action, please contact us by e-mail.
BSFS prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting conduct the reporter believed violated the Code of Conduct or anyone participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy.
RESPONSE TO COMPLAINTS
When the person in charge of an event determines that conduct is disruptive to the extent that it presents a physical danger to attendees or is so offensive as to disrupt the peaceful enjoyment of the event, the party(ies) involved may be removed immediately without refund. An investigation will follow the removal using the procedures outlined below.
If the complaint requires reporting to law enforcement agencies, we encourage complainants to do that as soon as possible and follow their directions for action. The BSFS Board may elect to defer action until the completion of any law enforcement activities.
Complaints not involving physical danger or disruption of the event will be investigated and resolved after the event.
Complaints about presentation content that was offered in a manner consistent with EXPECTED BEHAVIORS will not be a basis for removal. This provides time to obtain the facts and give all parties opportunities to discuss the situation, and if possible, come to a mutually agreeable resolution. If this not possible, the complaint will be handled using the following timeline and procedures:
- Communications will be sent via USPS certified mail to make sure that the information is received. To facilitate a timely process, backup copies will be sent via email. In case of any confusion or ambiguity, the certified deliveries will be considered authoritative.
- Written acknowledgement that the complaint has been received will be sent to the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) within 10 business days.
- An investigative team will be appointed within 21 days after the receipt of the complaint. This team will obtain statements, evidence, clarifications, and rebuttals from the complainant(s), respondent(s), and any witnesses.
- The investigative team will deliver a written report to the Board with a finding of facts and recommendations for action within 90 days of appointment. This report is a confidential internal document because it contains sensitive personal information; it will not be released to any party. The Board may extend the time for investigation and will notify all parties of the extension.
- The Board will deliver written notices to the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) of its decision, including any further actions that may be taken.
- The BSFS Board may take interim actions during the investigative phase that it determines necessary to protect the BSFS Community.
The Board advises all parties that it generally takes several months to complete all phases of an investigation. The amount of time depends on how quickly information is supplied by the parties when they are contacted by the investigative team. If investigators cannot obtain responses within 30 days of a request, they will move on to the next step so that complaints do not linger for an excessive length of time.
BSFS is an all-volunteer run organization. We do not have staff who can work on complaint resolution on a full-time basis. We have no law enforcement powers and cannot compel anyone to participate by providing information or other evidence.
BSFS may publicly release results of an investigation and any actions it has taken, as it deems appropriate. When complaints are of a sensitive or intimate nature, it is established practice to maintain the confidentiality of the parties and not issue public statements.
Any person found to have violated this policy will be subject to any one or more of the following disciplinary actions:
- Warning the party involved to cease the inappropriate behavior;
- Immediate removal from an event or meeting without refund;
- Membership termination without refund;
- Denial of access to BSFS events or venues (physical or virtual) temporarily or permanently;
- Refusing offered volunteer services;
- Withholding of contracted honorarium or award;
- Discharge from BSFS leadership positions;
- Bans (permanent or time limited) from future BSFS leadership positions; and/or
- Removal of privileges, benefits, or association as the Board deems necessary and effective for protecting our members, attendees at our events, and users of our digital services and forums.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT CONDUCT AWAY FROM BSFS PROPERTY OR EVENTS
The BSFS Board may accept complaints of documented conduct that would be a violation of this Code of Conduct occurring in places other than BSFS property and events, or on non-BSFS digital platforms. As part of the investigation, the severity of the conduct, elapsed time, documentation, and other aggravating and mitigating factors will be considered.
Additional information about the requirements and recommendations of this Code of Conduct are available in the BSFS Code of Conduct Supplemental Guide (under development.)
Questions about any aspect of this Code of Conduct should be submitted to the BSFS Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.